How To Score Qualified Sales Leads From Day 1

Aman Mehta
6 min readSep 11, 2018

There are several ways to get consistent, qualified B2B leads. But if you’re looking for instant results, cold emailing might be the best bet.

Find out how cold emailing is different from spamming, cold emailing best practices, and how this can be one of the most cost-effective and consistent lead generation strategies for digital agencies, freelancers, and growth hackers.

First things first, what is cold emailing?

Cold emailing is the email campaign you send to potential clients who don’t already have a relationship with you — in the hope that you will eventually convert total strangers into clients.

It’s like trying to initiate a conversation with a girl in the bar — only that cold emailing demands lesser nerve!

But isn’t this outright spamming?

For most people, cold emailing is synonymous with spamming. But certain subtleties make cold emailing majorly acceptable and spamming unacceptable and unethical (and illegal, depending on where you come from).

Imagine approaching 25 women in one evening with the same cheesy pick-up line with no intention of forming a two-way connection with them, but to satisfy your selfish interests.

Does this cold email thing really work?

Mostly, no. You won’t hear back from most of the prospects. And that’s perfectly fine. You don’t need to get a positive reply from everyone. Only a handful would do.

Here are the stats of an average email campaign we did for one of our clients at

Of the 104 people we sent the emails, 77 opened them, 31 replied, out of which, 16 were positive replies — this means 16 potential clients are interested in taking things forward. During the next 30 days, our client booked meetings with 10 of the 16 qualified leads, closed 6 of them, generating over $12,000 in revenue from them in the next month itself.

As you can see, most potential clients weren’t interested; still, this campaign was a blasting success.

Cold emails work for 3 main reasons:

  • You don’t rely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. You don’t need to depend on others to take actions. You can form your own lead generation strategy and multiply it as many times as you want.
  • Cold emailing saves a ton of time and effort. Inbound marketing strategies like content creation, social media marketing, SEO, and email marketing take several months to deliver substantial results. Cold emails, on the other hand, put you directly in the inbox of your favorite businesses you want to work with.
  • Cold emailing is cheap; almost free if you do it all by yourself.

However, everything is not as rosy as it seems. Cold emailing works, if done right.

Here are 3 major reasons why cold emails don’t work.

  • Lack of technical knowledge: Some common rookie mistakes include
    - using a free email account
    - using your own domain
    - not setting up SKF and DKIM
    - not warming up your new email
    - crossing the daily email threshold
    - not spreading out the emails over the day
    - including excess images/links/rich-text in the email
    - not checking the deliverability and open rates.
    These mistakes end up delivering your emails in the Promotions tab, or worse, in the spam folder.
  • Inability to find information on the right companies, the right people in the companies and the right email address to contact them: If you struggle to create your ideal client profile, even if your emails are delivered and read, you won’t get a reply as the prospects don’t need your service. Imagine a web development company sending cold emails to another company with in-house developers and a well-maintained website. Finding out the right decision-maker in the company is equally important. If you send your marketing proposal to the CTO of a company, your email would be deleted faster than Usain Bolt completes a 100-meter dash.
    Finding the right email address is a challenge on its own. Avoid generic emails like info@example. com or contact@example. com. Use personal emails. Also, don’t forget to verify the emails. Invalid and bounced emails affect your deliverability.
  • Inability to covey the message: This is the most important part of cold emails as writing a great email can’t be learned overnight and can only be perfected through practice. Some people devote their whole career to the art called “email copywriting”.

There are three parts of a brilliant email copy — curiosity, attention, and value.

Now that you have known familiarized yourself with cold emailing, let’s get down to the meat of cold emailing.

How do you actually do it?

I divide the cold emailing process into 3 parts:

  • Set-up

Unless you’re carrying out a one-time outreach campaign for a handful of prospects, I recommend a prior set-up of the email campaign. This includes establishing a business email address, getting a GSuite (or similar) account, setting up SKF and DKIM, and warming up the email address.

I also recommend using an automation tool (like Woodpecker/Mailshake/Autoklose) for 4 reasons:

a) emails are distributed over time instead of bursts, thus avoiding suspicion for spam by the email provider

b) the whole process is automated so you can start the entire process at once instead of sending each email individually. Snippets give way to personalization.

c) open, click, and reply tracking

d) automatic follow-ups/drip emails

  • List building

This basically includes a sheet with a list of company names, their website, name of the people to be contacted, and their respective email addresses.

List building starts with the list of companies. There are several ways to find companies that fit your ideal client profile. LinkedIn, Crunchbase and Clutch are some popular websites to search and filter your ideal companies.

However, the possibilities are endless and should depend on the vertical of businesses you’re looking for. When we had to target small-medium tour operators, we made the list using Tripadvisor, when we were looking for restaurant owners, we used Yelp.

When it comes to finding the right person to contact, the only reliable resource is LinkedIn. To find their email address through LinkedIn, use Chrome extensions like Skrapp, Adapt Prospector, and Lusha. Alternatively, if you have the website names, you can find the email addresses through Hunter or FindThatLead.

  • Email Copy

I already mentioned earlier the three parts of a brilliant email copy — curiosity, attention, and value.

Curiosity begins before the email body — from the subject. If your subject is weak, your email will land into the trash can before it is even opened. Having said that, the subject shouldn’t be click-bait and should be related to the email body.

The vast majority of unsolicited emails to executives get deleted within the few seconds of opening. It’s essential to capture their curiosity — it doesn’t matter if you do this with humor, wit, or explicitly acknowledging their pain point — what matters is to break the pattern. There’s no curiosity in the pattern.

Next, hold their attention by giving them reasons to keep reading. And finally, show them how you would impact their business. Offer them something for free — a customized video assessment, some tips, a genuine concern.

Mention something that shows them you have been following them — an insightful blog post, recent achievements, quality of their service — subtle, genuine compliments are welcome.

The most important thing: Offer value, don’t sell.

If you follow these cold emailing procedures correctly, you will see hot, qualified leads pouring into your sales pipeline from the same day itself!

Upcoming blog-posts on Cold Emailing:

  • Top Performing Cold Email Templates for Digital Agencies & Freelancers
  • In-Depth Guide to Setting Up a New Email Address for Cold Email Campaigns
  • 5 Major Mistakes in Cold Email Copies
  • Further Down the Pipeline: Next Steps After You Get a Positive Reply from a Prospect
  • 3 Myths of Cold Emailing
  • 5 Essential Cold Emailing Tools We Use

If you want me to touch any specific topic, let me know in the comments!



Aman Mehta

Armchair Philosopher | Location Independent | Amateur Photographer